January 8, 2013

Driving the Great Ocean Road in Melbourne Australia

For Christmas, we booked a last minute flight to Melbourne Australia as our Samoan resort was closed due to Cyclone Evan. Our resort hosts encourage tourism as one way we can help the island recover from the destruction and have invited us to return later this year - will share more about the trip when we can make it this winter. It's a beautiful family owned resort that was destroyed in the tsunami of 2009 just after it's grand opening. The staff have bonded together with the owners to rebuild their "home" creating a welcoming place for visitors to experience the beauty of Samoa. Can't wait to meet them all and learn more about their story.

You could say we flew by the seat of our pants, as we had no idea what to do in Melbourne, nothing planned. We booked a hotel in St. Kilda on the beach, and spent five days touring the downtown area (CBD). Lots of sleeping in, dining al fresco (such a rare treat as not very common in Wellington where we live! Too windy!) taking in the beautiful sights, ports, river, and beautiful architectural found at every corner. Melbourne is so clean with wide streets and sidewalks, lush green trees lining the road, and sky high buildings. And has some great shopping!

By the fourth day, we decided we had to extend our stay and hire a car so we could do the highly recommended drive on Great Ocean Road to see the Twelve Apostles. This drive is listed as one of the top 10 great scenic roads, and often compared to the Pacific Coast Highway 1 drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Having done that drive, we knew this one would be spectacular! And it was. So much so that after driving 9 hours to Warnambool one day, we did the same drive back instead of taking a short cut across to Melbourne.

The drive is estimated at 5 hours (Melbourne to Warnambool) but with so many great beach towns, cafes, look out points, we almost doubled that! And we're keen to go back and visit the lovely beachy area of Lorne, a true beach town that draws you in with white sand, crystal blue water, and a string of shops across from the water full of jandals (flip flops), ice cream, pizza, and coffee.

Shame that we forgot to pack the camera! I did make a list, but didn't cross things off - I think I went into vacation mode fairly quickly when I finished work on the Friday before Christmas. Alas, the handy dandy iphone 4S took some nice snaps, and instagram to the rescue.

Melbourne Australia Great Ocean Road

From top row (left to right): Great Ocean Road from the car, a scenic look out 
point at a beachy cove, spotted: koalas up in the trees.
Middle row: Rugged coastline, Twelve Apostles (seven remain), Lorne beach
Bottom row: Walk way up to car from The Arch, The Arch, the look out point to The Arch

You can view larger images by visiting my instagram page 
(see the right-hand link on my blog, or find me, @sasaras)

The gorgeous turquoise waves below the blue skies was spectacular - to show you, the first pic in the top left hand corner has no filter, and was snapped as we drove by with my phone hanging out the car window! Stunning! I hope your holidays were just as enjoyable, this drive along Great Ocean Road was unforgettable. Our travel day ended in Warnambool with a very late check-in at a very booked hotel, and somehow we scored a double room upgrade to a spa suite. It was the perfect way to end the day by soaking in an over bubbled spa tub. Heavenly.


  1. Those photos and views are incredible, I must go to Australia someday! My old au pair kid is living there for a year now and I just envy him, he's living the 16-year-old dream, no joke.

  2. Beautiful scenery and photos! Sounds like you had a wonderful, relaxing trip :)

  3. What a pity about your resort! We were lucky that our south coast resort wasn't too badly damaged by the cyclone (although they were still in the process of clean-up, running on generator power when we were there) and we were still able to go on our honeymoon in the last couple of weeks.
    If you get a chance, tack on a couple of nights on the island of Savai'i - it's a completely different change of pace. We stayed at Savaii Lagoon Resort and loved it there!


So glad you wandered by!